Prepping for Basic Combat Training requires mental preparedness, as well as support from your family. It’s important to know what to bring and what to leave at home. You’ll also want to be sure that your personal affairs—such as any bills or legal, household or child custody matters—are in order, and that your family and employer are informed about your BCT dates and details.

Know what you’re allowed to bring and what you’re not.
See Basic Training Essentials for a checklist of what you’ll need to pack. All of your personal belongings must be able to fit into one medium-sized gym bag—so make sure none of that space is taken up by anything that will get confiscated at BCT.

Settle all personal affairs before heading off to BCT.
Take care of unresolved legal or financial matters that could prevent you from finishing your training or even get you sent back home.

Tell your employer about BCT.
If you have a job, tell your employer that you’ll need to be away from work—and for how long—and do it now. Employers need to make plans, too.

Take care of your bills and finances.
Take care of any car payments, charge accounts, rent or mortgage payments, and any other financial matters in advance. Make sure you tell your family what they need to know to handle bill payments in your absence. Expect it to take up to four weeks to get your first paycheck.

Update contact information.
Make sure all emergency contact information is current and correct.

Provide for child custody.
Make any childcare and custody arrangements as soon as possible—your children are too important to wait until the last minute.

Pass along Family Support Group (FSG) information.
The Guard offers information, resources and support to your family when you get to BCT—be sure to give your family your FSG handout.

Know the communication rules.
You cannot receive phone calls at BCT, but you are required to call your family within 72 hours of your arrival. Your family can use the Red Cross or the IADT Coordinator for emergencies, and they can send mail and care packages. However, there are no visits permitted during BCT until Graduation Day.

Now you’re ready to ship to BCT.